Sign up to receive our
daily summary of tech news for free.

A Chinese employee shows a wafer containing Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology's StarDragon chip. Photo by AP
Exclusive
Semiconductors Asia

Qualcomm’s China Venture Shows Risks of Beijing’s Tech Ambition

Photo: A Chinese employee shows a wafer containing Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology's StarDragon chip. Photo by AP

A joint venture between Qualcomm and the government of a rural Chinese province to make server chips appears to have stalled. And with it, a symbol of China’s push to boost its homegrown industries could instead spotlight the perils of letting bureaucrats pick technology winners.

Chinese government officials showcased Huaxintong Semiconductor, or HXT, as a shining example of how the country was going to leverage foreign expertise to build up its semiconductor industry. On one side of the joint venture there was the local government of Guizhou, a poor, rural province that has lured everyone from Apple to Huawei to build data centers there with the promise of cheap electricity and cool temperatures. On the other was Qualcomm, which had promised to invest in the Chinese economy as part of an antitrust settlement and later needed Beijing’s approval for a huge multinational merger.

But the venture’s grand plans—to build chips for servers in data centers springing up across China—haven’t quite worked out. Amid intensifying competition, demand for HXT’s chips never materialized, according to people familiar with the project. Now, some employees at HXT say they have halted work on future projects.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing
Europe’s Regulatory Traffic Jam: The Information’s Tech Briefing

European regulators seem to be caught in a traffic jam of cases against big U.S. tech companies. It’s a situation we could easily see develop in the U.S. in the not-too-distant future, an interesting wrinkle that is likely to work to some companies’ advantage.

The logjam in Europe has emerged in recent days as we have been waiting to see European regulators slap Amazon with ...

Latest Briefs
 
Apple Wins Landmark Court Case Over €13 billion Tax Bill in Defeat for EU
Apple Removes Thousands of Games From China App Store
The New York Times Reduces Operations in Hong Kong as China Tightens Grip
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Org Charts Facebook
The People With the Power at Facebook After Chris Cox’s Return
In Facebook’s upper ranks, what’s old is new again. That’s because Chris Cox, one of Facebook’s most senior executives, recently returned as chief product officer, reporting to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after a yearlong hiatus.
Out of Office Economy COVID-19
How to Start a New Job During a Pandemic
As Twilio’s new head of human resources, Christy Lake normally would have spent her first few weeks on the job talking, lunching and generally hanging out with many of the San Francisco tech company’s 3,000 employees.
Exclusive Policy Asia
For TikTok, an Amazon Ban That Wasn’t, a Wells Fargo Ban That Was
It was a head-spinning day for TikTok, the hit video-sharing app. Hours after Amazon told employees to delete TikTok from their phones over security concerns, the internet giant publicly reversed its decision after a flurry of behind-the-scenes discussions between the two companies.
Exclusive Media/Telecom Entertainment
Amazon Alum’s Exit From TV Firm Shows Pitfalls for Tech Execs in Media
Amazon alumni have turned up at a wide range of digital and traditional media firms, such as Snap and Disney.
Data Point E-commerce Asia
China’s Pinduoduo Is Nipping at Alibaba’s Heels
For well over a decade, Alibaba has been China’s top destination for online shopping. But the rapid growth of its leading competitor, Pinduoduo, suggests its hold on the market isn’t guaranteed.
Exclusive Facebook COVID-19
Apple Reaches New Stage in Development of AR Devices
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted key parts of Apple’s business, but it hasn’t derailed the company’s plans to build what could be its next important technology platform—augmented reality devices.